Emporia State’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” will run from April 24-27 with shows at 7:30 p.m. in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre.
The show will be the directorial debut of assistant professor Dennis Turney Jr., who recently joined the university faculty.
“I think that every production is unique,” said Turney. “Unlike any other art form, theater is kind of this live event that happens, so that makes every show unique. I’ve directed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ before, but this is gonna be unique be- cause of the people I have in it. I seek to find the humanity in the characters...to have the language illuminated and be crystal clear and for the show to be entertaining.”
Having worked with the American Globe Theater in New York City for 15 years, Turney has a long history working with and performing Shakespeare.
“It was working with that company that led me to teach-
ing and directing because John Basil taught me First Folio technique and that’s something I wanted to pass on,” Turney said. “The main difficulties I have is with (Shakespeare’s) verse, here in the Midwest there isn’t really a lifting of words... which you can’t do Shakespeare without. Anyone who’s new to learning Shakespeare, that’s the biggest challenge.”
The style and form of Shakespearian English proves a unique challenge in theater, something he’s excited to work through with the cast, accord- ing to Turney.
Ryan Wollum, sophomore theater major, is playing Romeo in his first Shakespearian play.
“Our director has been fantastic,” said Wollum. “He ex- plained it to us that we have to act Shakespeare in a way you might give directions to a toddler...You speak slowly and deliberately, so you have to do the same thing, so the audience understands what’s going on.”
According to Wollum, this is the first Shakespearian play a lot of the cast have been in, and
the first Shakespearian show that the college has put on for a number of years.
“How do we act this in such a way that we keep the audience interested?” Wollum said. “Really, we can rely on the story because it is such an interesting story...two people falling so madly in love that so many others die around them, so it’s been fun trying to find a unique way to tell that story.”
“Romeo and Juliet” features several fight scenes, all of which have required meticulous rehearsal, according to Wollum.
“A couple of us have had a little bit of experience with stage combat so it was great to break everything down and go through all the basic moves of fight choreography,” Wollum said. We have practiced s lot to just make sure that everything looks okay, because it is such a dangerous thing. I mean you’re swinging blades at people.”
Tickets are available by call- ing the box office at 620-341- 6378, online or by visiting the University Ticketing Office in the Memorial Union.